1627, Sea Season, Harmony Week
The day after Varanis takes her dip, Berra talks to Xenofos while they ride, and he goes up on point. She drops back, and after a bit of thought seeks out Varanis, out on the left flank.
The Creek is behind them now, and they have forded a smaller river, as they head up towards Skull Ruins.
Sea Season continues to bless everything with light rain.
Varanis is riding her new mount, who has recently been named Fish. The Vingan is talking to her horse softly, while she scans the landscape.
The diminutive warrior on bisonback makes enough noise to be obvious, as she drops into place left of Varanis. Followed is not the biggest of bisons by any means, but she is still tall enough that Berra can look down on most people on horseback. At least here, she and Varanis can be about eye to eye.
Varanis breaks off her conversation with Fish to greet the Humakti. “Everything alright?” The previous day’s ordeal seems mostly forgotten. She is once again wearing the bronze armour that is her hallmark.
“Yeah, but I got a… I have a favour to ask you, and it’s a big one, so you should probably think about it first.” Berra looks relaxed, so presumably it is not urgent.
Varanis arches an eyebrow at her companion. “Well, before I can think about it, I need to hear it.”
“I’d like your support in a Heroquest,” Berra says. “Lord Eril needs a Wyter.”
Varanis nods thoughtfully. “And do you know the quest?”
“I think so. If I can perform his deeds, I’ll be able to summon the version of him made of Darkness. That’s who – what – is right and worthy. Who, probably.”
“And you would need me to be….?”1Varanis fails Insight (Human) and cannot tell what emotions Berra has about this.
“He left his family and the people he loved. You’d… you’re a good stand-in for Silor.” Berra checks the horizon as she talks.
Varanis glances over at Berra. “Silor is a good man. I… would be happy to play his role if it helps you. But…. after we meet with the Feathered Horse Queen?”
“Yeah, totally. It’ll have to be back in Boldhome. But you should think about it properly because it could cut me away from you. I mean, it’s the right thing to do, but it won’t be easy.” Berra looks off to the front of the column, and then back to Varanis. “I need to talk to Lord Silor to be sure some of my guesses are right, but I think that he helped his brother in ways I don’t know yet – like I’m pretty sure he got the treasury, or some of it, and I want to know what else.”
Conflicting emotions cross Varanis’ face too rapidly to take note of.2Because Berra has failed Insight (Human) too. In the end, she settles for something that might be acceptance. “There is no other way?”
Berra has her answer ready. “It’s the one that gives us the best chance.” That could have been all of the answer, but she goes on, “He’s a Hero, but… I think he’s really scared. As far as he can be. If the Lunar Empire finds out he is, or any of his enemies, then they could work to end that threat. He needs a community of worshippers, so I want to get it right because if I get it wrong, people will notice, and then people will start to know. He says he’s be displeased if that happened, but I think he’d also probably be dead.” Beat-pause. “Which would be bad.”
“And it would be permanent? This severing of our bond?” She looks at Berra, eyes searching for something.
“I don’t know. I don’t know what’ll happen, or how. It should just be a small thing – I’ll ask D’Val to play Ikadz, because I trust him to get it right. As far as I understand for when it’s played – which it basically isn’t – it’s usually done to cut off a bad thing. But it doesn’t get done as a Heroquest, normally.” Berra shrugs, unable to answer further, or unwilling.
“I’m sorry. That was an unworthy question. It shouldn’t matter anyway. You know this to be necessary and as such,” she straightens in the saddle, “I will do what is right. Yes, Berra. If this is how I can help you, then I will do it.” Even more softly, she adds, “No matter the cost.”
“No, it’s a necessary question. It’s right for me, and for my Lord, but…” Berra looks ahead. “The person that Xenofos fits best is Thenaya.”
“Helping Lord Eril helps Sartar and Kallyr,” Varanis replies, as if that provides an answer. And for her, it likely does.3Passed loyalty Sartar.“Is that why my cousin looks disgruntled?”
Berra nods to the first. “Well, he’s up there thinking now. He said a while back he wouldn’t want his words to imprison me and I think he’s trying to work out if ‘no’ will. I’ve got to let him decide. But please don’t talk to anyone else about this – at least, not about the High Sword being a Hero. He’d be massively pissed off if someone killed him. And probably more so if it ruined his plans. Except Xenofos, because he knows. I’m going to tell the other people, too.”
Varanis nods. “Poor Xenofos. And poor Thenaya. To love an…” She stops, perhaps running out of words, or perhaps thinking twice about sharing them with the Humakti. “I will think of what you have asked for, but you can safely anticipate that my answer will not change. Refusal from me would be because I was unwilling to let you go. And you have never been mine to keep.”
Berra nods. “Thank you,” she says, accepting that. “I’ll have to take my Lord’s advice on when, but it’ll probably be in Fire Season, and if not, Dark.”
The Vingan nods again. “So be it. I… could you leave me for a time? I need to think and I’m afraid I can’t watch for enemies, think, and talk all at once. Two of three is the best I can manage today.” She grins at Berra, but the smile doesn’t reach her eyes.
Berra nods, and peels off, heading on down the line.4Towards the back, and she is looking forward. Critical on Scan.
Varanis is surreptitiously wiping tears away. Maybe Followed kicked up dust. That’s likely the case.
Berra asks Varanis to help her in a heroquest
- 1Varanis fails Insight (Human) and cannot tell what emotions Berra has about this.
- 2Because Berra has failed Insight (Human) too.
- 3Passed loyalty Sartar.
- 4Towards the back, and she is looking forward. Critical on Scan.